So, the silly season is in full swing. Everyone is talking about how to survive the long list of events with food and drink; over-eating and the binge drink sessions.
But, has anyone ever stopped and thought about sleep? Lots of alcohol-fuelled late nights aren’t the greatest for rest and recovery.
Here are my top tips for a sound and restorative sleep:
1. Switch off Electronics & Lights
Phone: off. Laptop: off. TV: off. Why? Studies have shown that the blue-light emitted from electronic devices can suppress melatonin production (the sleep hormone). This can disrupt the natural sleep-wake cycle and negatively impact health. Disruption of melatonin signaling through the use of electrical lighting at night can also negatively impact thermoregulation, blood pressure and glucose homeostasis. This can lead to a whole range of health issues – from cancer to diabetes. Not to mention it makes falling and staying asleep much more difficult!
2. Treat your Bedroom like a Sanctuary
Treat your bedroom like a sanctuary and you’ll find it easier to fall asleep. Keep the noise down & make sure the room is cool and completely dark. Your bed should also be comfortable, with enough room to stretch and turn comfortably. If you wake up in the morning aching or stiff, it may be time to invest in a new mattress. You spend half your life in bed, so why not make it special?
3. Avoid stimulants & Alcohol
OK, so it may be a little difficult this time of year to avoid alcohol before bed. But, if you have trouble with sleep in the first place, then alcohol is not doing you any favours. Yes, alcohol can assist with falling asleep, but the rebound effect can include shallow sleep, multiple awakenings, sweating, and nightmares as it impairs the second half of the sleep cycle. Stimulants like green & black teas, coffee and energy drinks should also be avoided before bed. If you enjoy any of these drinks, make sure to have them before 1pm so they don’t affect you at night.
4. Eat Kiwi Fruit
You heard correctly. Kiwis. A 2011 study showed that eating 2 kiwi fruit an hour before bed time improved sleep onset, duration and efficiency in adults with sleep problems. I’ll admit that this study was funded by a kiwi fruit company, but the results they found were pretty amazing; the adults increased their sleep time from 6 hours to 7 hours on average. Being side-effect free, I would definitely recommend replicating this study at home.
A study published this year found that high self-perceived physical exertion (exercise) was associated with a more deep sleep, shortened sleep onset time, fewer awakenings during the night and shorter wake duration after sleep onset. The study found that the more intense the exercise, the better people slept. So, make sure you work extra hard in the gym to ensure a great night of sleep!
95% of the population is magnesium deficient. This isn’t a great statistic when you consider that magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. In regards to sleep, studies have shown that magnesium increases melatonin levels in the body. Supplementation with magnesium increased sleep time, sleep quality and shortened sleep onset time – making it great for insomniacs. Make sure you’re eating foods high in magnesium every day; nuts, seeds, whole grains, sea food and dark green leafy vegetables are all wonderful sources. Taking a magnesium supplement before bed is also helpful.*
7. No fluids after 8pm
There’s nothing worse than getting out of bed in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Drink the majority of your fluids during the day and have nothing after 8pm. Make sure to urinate before you go to bed as well!
So, there you have it – ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Sleepers.’ Have you tried any of these tips? I’d love to hear from you! Please comment below or e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a lovely week everyone & enjoy the Christmas festivities!
Love Stace x
*Ask me or your healthcare practitioner what supplement and dose you should be taking – it’s all individual!